Digimon S3: Digimon Tamers
In a Japan far different from the one depicted in the first two seasons of Digimon, there lives a young boy named Matsuda Takato, who is an avid fan of the Digimon card game and television series. One day, he finds a strange blue card and puts it into his card reader, which reads, well, Digimon cards. This turns Takato's card reading thing into a D-Power Digivice (D-Arc in Japan), and using it, he brings one of his Digimon doodles, Guilmon, to life. But as Takato will soon learn, he's not the only one in town with a Digimon ... a young girl named Ruki (Rika) has a Digimon too, and she isn't exactly quite happy with Takato seeing Guilmon as a friend, rather than a monster you send out to battle with. And then there's another boy, Lee (Henry), who has a Digimon too, but has to carry out big reposibility in his family at the same time. The three will have to set aside their differences and work together, though, if they're to stop the ongoing Digimon attacks that threaten both the real world and, much later, the digital world!
After Digimon 02, I thought the series would be doomed when I heard that Tamers was not going to even take place in the same world as the first two seasons. It didn't help my opinion one bit when the only difference in Tamers I noticed at first was that the kids can now use cards to modify their Digimon, which sounds much cooler than it really is. Most of the time it's just for evolving their Digimon, though the evolving animations look MUCH cooler than in previous seasons (especially with Ruki's Digimon, Renamon).
The next thing I noticed upon watching Tamers was Ruki. Her arrogant, "Digimon are only for fighting" attitude annoyed me for quite a while (especially since she's even more of a pain in the dub), which is quite unfortunate, as she's the only interesting character in the start of the series, and the only truly original character in Tamers. The other characters were all a bunch of wimps or dorks we've seen in the last two seasons in some form: Juri (Jeri) is a creepy, whiny girl who talks to a hand puppet, Takato is the obligatory Goggle Boy (tm) who never stops whining, Lee is bland through and through, etc. About the only characters I did like in the beginning were Kazu and Kenta, the Digimon otaku who so badly wanted to become Tamers like Takato-tachi. Although these characters, thankfully, gain character development as the series progresses, it takes FOREVER for them to do so, at least in the dub. Some characters take as long as episode 50 to develop! Yeesh ... I know this is a kids' show and all, but come on, writers. The main characters should NOT take until the end of the season to develop.
However, I still stuck with the series, hoping it would improve. And, to my surprise, it did ... when the kids went into the digital world halfway through the season. All of a sudden the show just started getting better. The fights got more entertaining and important to the storyline, character development started to slowly take its toll on the characters, the villains of the series FINALLY emerged, and we got to see more of the extremely misunderstood Impmon. Also, back in Japan, the fact that a bunch of researchers were researching about Digimon, the digital world, and what exactly are Digimon, gave this season an unique, sci-fi aspect on the world of Digimon the other three seasons never saw. I really enjoyed the second half of the series, except when Juri is separated from her Digimon and she becomes Little Miss Shinji (TM) for nearly the rest of the season. And I'm talking like FIFTEEN EPISODES prior to the end of the season here, not just three of four.
Animation-wise the character designs are kinda basic for the kids themselves, but everything else was really neat animation-wise and art-wise.
As for music, well, I only watched the English version, so I can't really comment on the music. I can, however, comment on the dub itself. The voice acting and writing have improved significantly from previous seasons, with far less stupid jokes, actual mentioning of death, less "digi-" puns, and Digimon voices NOT changing after they evolve (a problem that I had for quite a while in dubbed Digimon).
Although Digimon Tamers has its faults (slow character development, a sudden change in new characters from the last season, and a less-than-exciting first half), the more you watch it, and the further you get into it, the more you'll enjoy it.
An entertaining alternate reality Digimon world that rises well above season one and, at times, matches that of season two's quality. Those expecting a continuation of last season, however, can take away one or two stars. — Tim Jones
Recommended Audience: Aside from Digimon fighting one another, along with the occassional building/rockbeing destroyed by Digimon attacks, there's not much to say. No sex, no fan service, no foul langauge ... although this season is darker than previous Digimon seasons.
Version(s) Viewed: Broadcast airing, English dub
Review Status: Partial (25/51)
Digimon S3: Digimon Tamers © 2001 Toei Animation / Bandai / Fuji TV
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